Tim Cook emails employees as FBI court order looms over the company

Apple CEO Tim Cook defends FBI rejection

Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an email to staff on Monday in which he thanked them for their continued support as the company continues its iPhone hacking fight against the FBI.

“Apple is a uniquely American company. It does not feel right to be on the opposite side of the government in a case centering on the freedoms and liberties that government is meant to protect,” he wrote in his email.

Cook argues that following through with a court order to hack an iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooters would attack “everyone’s civil liberties” and make the company vulnerable to cybercrime.

As they are currently built, iPhones are encrypted to protect a users personal information. If too many passcodes are attempted, the device auto-wipes a users data. The FBI would like Apple to write software that would allow the agency to try an infinite number of passwords, or create a backdoor into every iPhone that would give law enforcement the means to break Apple’s encryption.

In an online FAQ page, Apple has explained why it is refusing a court order to hack the iPhone:

“It would be wrong to intentionally weaken our products with a government-ordered backdoor. If we lose control of our data, we put both our privacy and our safety at risk.”

Cook said he believes the government should form a commission filled with tech experts “to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms.”

Apple and Cook have gained the support of Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey said his agency’s demand that Apple break into Farook’s iPhone was “about the victims and justice.”

“Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined,” Comey wrote in a post on the Lawfare blog. “We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law.”